13 Things to Never Say to People Who Suffer From Chronic Pain


Shirley Ann Fisk · Top Commenter · University of Oregon
One doctor (who worked for an insurance company) told me that I’d feel better if I put on lipstick. Really?

Brenda Thornton · Top Commenter · Cypress, Texas
I once had a resident tell me that maybe I was making a little too much of my pain. I got off the stretcher, grabbed him by the arm, and pulled him over to the MRI films and the x-rays they had taken and pointed out point by point the awful things displayed on those films. I then asked him if he had any idea what those films displayed and how he could say to me that I was making too much of my pain? He stuttered and then said, well, we were taught to minimize pain to patients so they would stop complaining…

Jeremy Shulke · Top Commenter
The worst thing I’ve heard (from a doctor no less)…. you’re just depressed. If we put you on anti-depressants, then you’ll be fine. Really? An anti-depressant is going to fix all that stuff that messed up stuff that shows up on my multiple MRIs? I may be a miserable SOB now, but I wasn’t always. The physical issues caused my quality of life to go to total junk… it was only after that when my mood took a downward turn. Oh, and there’s the “you’re a drug addict” crap I get from my folks (who have no medical training or expertise at all). I refused to take the meds for 5 years until things became impossible to manage. My family never saw the hell I was going through. (Please, don’t recommend to me that I use marijuana. I tried it, it didn’t go well)

Johnna Stahl
You tried marijuana? Was that just once? A couple of times? When I was able to afford the Medical Cannabis Program in New Mexico, there were plenty of purchases that didn’t help (about 80% of them). Finding bud that’s strong enough for chronic pain is very hard (and expensive), at least in this state. There’s also the strains that can cause a negative side effect or two, especially those purchased in the underground market. And then there are a few people who are overly sensitive to THC, so the answer there is a high-CBD strain. Considering the war against opioids and pain patients, depending on the medical industry for pain relief seems rather short-sighted. If your doctor hasn’t abandoned you yet, then you’re lucky. With cannabis, there are no doctors, no drug tests, no being treated like a drug addict. In my opinion, cannabis is worth it.

Johnna Stahl
I always wonder about people who say they’ve healed from their chronic pain. They used to suffer from chronic pain, but by some miracle, it’s gone. Really? Perhaps that means their pain wasn’t chronic to begin with. Once pain becomes chronic and intractable, it doesn’t ever go away, and anyone who says differently is full of it.

Columbia University Will Divest From Private Prison Companies


NEW YORK — Columbia University trustees voted Monday to divest from for-profit prison companies because of concerns about mass incarceration, becoming the first major university to do so.

Columbia, in New York, owned more than 230,000 shares of Corrections Corp. of America, the largest private prison company, headquartered in Nashville, Rolling Stone reported last year. The school no longer owns those shares, law professor Jeff Gordon disclosed in April. The school still holds shares in G4S, a British prison and security services company…

An article in The Guardian described a G4S facility in England as rife with drugs and alcohol. An American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit accused a Corrections Corp. of America-owned prison as permitting excessive violence and prison guards who laughed as they declined to treat prisoners’ injuries…

Lego Saying ‘No’ To Plastic


The toy company announced this week that it plans to invest 1 billion Danish Krone (or about $150 million) over the next 15 years in a program to develop new “sustainable” materials which will eventually replace the plastic currently used to make its iconic building blocks. Lego also plans to make its packaging more environmentally-friendly…

As NBC News notes, Lego blocks have been made from “a strong, resilient plastic known as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)” since 1963. The company reportedly uses more than 6,000 tons of plastic every year to manufacture the toy blocks. In 2014, it made 60 billion Lego pieces.

Survey Says Pot Prices Are Crashing in Colorado


“Since last June, the average price of an 1/8th ounce of recreational cannabis has dropped from $50-$70 to $30-$45 currently; an ounce now sells for between $250 and $300 on average compared to $300-$400 last year,” Convergex reported…

“The state grossed $3.55 million in revenues from the 10 percent retail sales tax in January, which suggests stores earned $35.5 million in revenue,” Convergex reported. “That’s a 153 percent increase from the prior year. Revenues in February and March grew by 164 percent and 126 percent on the year respectively, while sales rose by 98 percent year-over-year to $43.9 million in April.”

According to the data, Colorado’s pot shops are expected to gross up to $480 million this year—a 50 percent increase over 2014…

Drug Testing


If we want to save more lives, we need to stop drug-testing people and start drug testing… drugs…


It is therefore a sad reality that our drug laws have contributed to the deaths of those young men at Christmas and New Year. As, “by handing the control of the trade over to the black market, successive governments have abdicated all responsibility.” These deaths are an added example of a worrying upward trend in drug related deaths – which saw a 21% increase in 2013, a figure that jumped to 32% for heroin/morphine deaths alone…

The Netherlands has adopted a very pragmatic approach when it comes to harm reduction for drug users. Here, residents have access to a free, government funded drug testing service, which is “born out of a culture that believes in accepting the reality of life and shaping policy in a way that recognises that human behaviour cannot be completely controlled.” …

Wales have a great drug testing service, WEDINOS. Anyone living in Wales is able to independently and anonymously submit a sample for testing. Users are given a reference number to then later check the results online. This harm reduction project aims to reflect trends in substance use and so also asks users to submit the effects of the drug along with their sample.

Home testing kits can be bought online and can test for a variety of substances. These are not 100% reliable however, with false readings possible if two or more substances are present in the sample you are testing. This is especially true for MDMA – where many may be mixed with PM(M)A – subsequently masking the dangerous PM(M)A…

Really Missing Winter

After arriving home from Walmart today, I was irritated to find that one of my bags of groceries didn’t make it home with me.  When I went back to get it around 1:30pm, the temperature read-out in my car showed 103 degrees.  We’re all melting, melting, melting…

“The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.”  Robert M. Pirsig

(Photo taken 12/19/2014.)

Community Utility Billing Services (CUBS)

June 23, 2015

Community Utility Billing Services
PO Box 1530
Hemet, CA 92546-1530

Re: *****

Dear Customer Care Department:

I am in receipt of your letter dated June 1, 2015 regarding the alleged delinquent balance on my account. This will notify CUBS that this is incorrect.

My agreement with the leasing manager, Kara Buchman, is that my rent and utilities are paid on the 3rd of every month, as that’s when I receive my Social Security Disability check. Late charges that CUBS is continuing to accrue on my account are not only excessive and illegal, but also in direct violation of my agreement with Ms. Buchman.

I understand that Ms. Buchman explained my recent loss of long term disability benefits and the difficulty I’m having trying to pay CUBS before the 3rd of every month, as it recently demanded when I was told to start paying the utility bill directly to CUBS. She informed me that CUBS agreed to delete these late charges.

Additionally, my questions regarding exactly what I’m being charged for in regards to utilities have never been answered, even though I’ve been asking the same questions for years. Prior responses from CUBS and Ms. Buchman have been woefully inadequate.

Although the apartment manager told me at one time that she was in the middle of completing a review and audit of CUBS billing practices, she has refused to inform me of the results. My latest request in May of this year stated:

“And although I’m working on collecting information to prove that CUBS is over-charging for utilities, I haven’t been well enough to complete this task. Additionally, I’ll need you to provide copies of the bills for this building, so I can see exactly what I’m being charged for and how the charges are allocated. As I mentioned to you before, even though I’ve cut back on my water usage, my bill continues to climb.”

Since Ms. Buchman is refusing to provide this information, I am now requesting it from CUBS. Please see to providing this information to me as soon as possible.

I am also requesting an explanation of the increase in CUBS’ monthly service fee from $3.50 to $4.00, as well as what the service fee includes. I would like to know why I have to pay for a billing service chosen by the apartment manager when CUBS should be charging the apartment complex instead of me for this service. Fees for contractors such as CUBS should be covered in my rent. It’s an added fee for certain utilities that, for instance, I don’t have to pay to the electric company.

One of my neighbors informed me that CUBS charges an additional fee to make a payment online. This also seems like a questionable practice.

I think it’s interesting that CUBS is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau. In fact, its rating is an F. And there are other complaints similar to mine listed on the BBB website, including overcharging for water and its service fee.

I was unable to find very much information on CUBS through a Google search. Therefore, I am posting this letter to my blog at painkills2.wordpress.com, so that other people experiencing the same problems with CUBS and their apartment complex can find it on the internet.


Johnna Stahl

cc: Kara Buchman, via email